Federal mandate changes how Mary Greeley Medical Center handles COVID-19 vaccinations for employees

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AMES, Iowa – While metro hospitals had a vaccine deadline on Nov. 1, Mary Greeley Medical Center now has one coming up in two months.

A shot that was once encouraged for Mary Greeley employees is now being required. The hospital receives money from Medicare and Medicaid. That means it must abide by the new federal mandates that took effect Thursday. 

Employees have until Jan. 4 to get vaccinated, but some of them don’t want to.

“I absolutely love my job. I don’t want to quit my job. I don’t want to be let go of my job and I want to do it till the day I retire,” one Mary Greeley nurse said, “and to think that this could stop that breaks my heart and I know so many other health care workers feel the same.”

A nurse at Mary Greeley who wishes to remain anonymous doesn’t agree with the vaccine mandate. She plans to apply for an exemption, but is waiting to see if Gov. Reynolds will fight the federal requirement on her behalf.  Her stance on the issue puts her in the minority amongst her co-workers.

“The majority of our staff I’m really thrilled to be able to say 89% are vaccinated,” Steve Sullivan, director of community relations at Mary Greeley Medical Center, said.

But the nurse argues that out of Mary Greeley’s 1,400 employees….“that 11% has their reasons of why they aren’t comfortable with it at this time, and I think they have the right to not be comfortable with it and I think it would be a horrible thing to lose 11% of that healthcare staff.”

“Nobody wants to lose anybody,” Sullivan said. “We have outstanding people here and they’ve done amazing work during 18 very challenging months, and we don’t want to lose them. And so we’re gonna be doing what we can to keep them.”

Sullivan said Mary Greeley is working with its lawyers to figure out how the federal regulation works with the state legislation that was passed last week when it comes to vaccine exemptions.

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